Portraits in 50mm

50mm Project: Day 07 – Capturing the moment

All this time that I’ve been practicing and trying my best to improve my photography, I have always been attracted to capturing candid scenes. I love capturing people in their unguarded moments. This is not always easy because, once you carry a camera, people are immediately aware that you are going to take their photos and react accordingly. But I think that the trick is that to actually take their photos and just wait until such time that they will become so used to your presence and actually start to ‘ignore’ you. Then you can start taking candid shots. A fast camera with accompanying fast lens would really be a big help, but you have to be fast as well in capturing the moment. Be aware of the scenes that are developing and be ready to capture it once “the moment” happens.

Another thing that fascinates me is street photography. I have been reading some materials from the internet about it, and the more I read, the more I become interested. It is mostly about capturing the moment, but in a more intimidating environment (at least for me). You have to do it in the streets and with strangers as your subject. It would be capturing real everyday life moments. I would definitely want to try it but I honestly don’t know exactly where to begin nor would I know if I have the guts to do it. But I guess I’ve already did some form of ‘street photography’, only it’s not on the streets and I do it with people I know.

This guy wanted his photo taken while I was trying to get some candid shots.

A window reflection

This picture is not taken with a 50mm lens. But I like its candid nature so I added it here.

50mm Project: Day 06 – Everyday Objects (Abstracts)

We tend to just ignore the ordinary even though our life is all about the ordinary and the mundane. It is the everyday routine that challenges us to just continue to move on knowing for certain that the routine will repeat again the next day. If one can’t appreciate the ordinary, how can one recognize the extraordinary? We must learn to appreciate the everyday! The ordinariness of the everyday is where our life really is. It is in the ordinary that we learn to overcome. Overcome what? To overcome our own selfish desire for excitement! To overcome our own self-centered passion for the extraordinary which are often at the expense of others and the fragile environment that we live in. In the process, we lose sight of the ‘ordinary’ beauty of what we already possess.

The extraordinary can only arise from the ordinary. And yet, the ordinary is more powerful simply because the extraordinary eventually ‘degenerates’ back to the ordinary. And life goes on…We can lead extraordinary lives only as we learn to appreciate the ordinary.

Above: a picture of decorative ceramic figurine

Above: A picture of a ‘Malunggay’ tree bud

Above: A picture of decorative glass vases

Above: A picture of artificial decorative flowers

50mm Project: Day 05 – Family Portraits

The reason why we buy a camera is to take pictures…mostly pictures of our family. I am no exception. I love taking pictures of my family, especially of my two children. I had a film camera before and I took lots of pictures of my two kids growing up. Now, with a digital camera, I don’t have to worry about film and developing. I already plan in scanning those old pictures and convert to digital files so that I will be able to combine them in one photo book.

My wife loves to pose as well. She has this ‘talent’ that she almost always look good in photographs. I think it is called being ‘photogenic.’ And she does look good in real person as well.  I guess my family has been so used to me taking their pictures that they just act naturally in front of the camera. For some others, it may not be the case. Especially with strangers, children and adults alike, taking their pictures will usually result in ‘unnatural’ look. Until such time that they will learn to relax in front of the camera, only then will their portraits look good and ‘natural.’

50mm Project: Day 04: Available Light Portrait (Indoor)

The 50mm prime lens translates to an 80mm focal length in a 1.6 crop factor camera. This means that it is a good portrait lens mounted on my camera. So, with that considered, I set out to take portraits of our site personnel indoors and with available light only. I found a spot in our site office with a side window which I believe will make a good portrait ‘studio.’

I noticed that many of my shots were blurry and some were not really sharp. I can attribute this this to my shaky hands. One other factor is that my aperture was too wide open and this results in not so sharp image. So, I closed down a little bit up to f/2.2 to f/2.8, then increased my ISO up to ISO400; all intended to offset my shaky hands and the low light setting of the portrait ‘studio.’

The site people were much willing to pose for portrait. One guy even thought that it was a company requirement, so I told him that it was only for my personal work. That put him at ease a little bit. Another guy wanted a copy of his picture so that he can upload it to his Facebook account. Still another guy wanted a copy of his picture so that he can send it to his wife in his home country. Come to think of it; I am actually helping these guys by taking their pictures. And…if I just dig  little deeper into the conversation (considering the limitations due to the language gap) I can actually have a view into the window of these guys lives. That, I believe, is one power of photography.


50mm Project: Day 03 – My Children Took These Photos

My two boys and I went to the park with the intention of taking part in the final rehearsals for the their upcoming Pathfinder Club investiture program. We went to park early enough bringing my camera with me and only the 50mm lens attached. Since the others were late in arriving, I took this opportunity to take some photos of my children and some photos of flowers.

Then, I gave the camera to the two boys and and told them to take some photos of whatever fancies their creative minds. I wanted to encourage them to find pleasure in photography. One of the boys commented that he had a ‘nice’ feeling when he took a photo and it came out looking good (perhaps, according to what he envisioned it to be). Well, I told him that ‘that’s absolutely good!’ This is the boy that has been asking me when I will buy a new camera. He is asking this because he says that when I get my new camera, the old camera will be his! The other boy didn’t like the idea at all because he wants it as well.

Getting a new camera does present its challenges other than the financial setback it entails. Having two boys is one of them. The other one is having a wife…that is, justifying to the wife the necessity of the purchase.







50mm Project: Day 02 – Candid Shots

When I started taking pictures with my camera, I was always attracted to taking candid pictures. I love taking candid pictures especially of children.There was this great satisfaction of getting a photograph of a moment in time of a child’s life that will never be repeated again.

Recently, me and my family attended a children’s birthday party. I took this opportunity to use my 50mm prime lens to take candid pictures of children, as well as adults, having fun at the party. The advantage of this lens is that it is small enough not to intimidate the kids. I also didn’t need to use flash and therefore it is easier to take candid shots.

I knew that I needed to bump up my ISO but I could not go beyond ISO400 without sacrificing image quality. This is due to the limitation of my current camera sensor. I am using Canon 400D, an ‘old’ camera by today’s standard. Camera sensors have greatly improved by big leaps and bounds that one can utilize ISO 3200 or higher without losing that much in image quality. As it is, I am till stuck in the ‘Jurassic Park’ of sensor land.